Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 12/11/12
In the wake of the Kansas City and Tampa Bay trade from Sunday night, many have speculated upon — and Jeff Sullivan has considered with something not unlike aplomb — how Wade Davis might perform in his return to the starting roation (i.e. the role he’s likely to assume with the Royals). As Sullivan notes, Davis was a not particularly excellent starter from 2009 to 2011. Then, he (i.e. Davis, not Sullivan) was a considerably above-average reliever in 2012. One is compelled to wonder, naturally, if Davis learned something from his year as a reliever that will aid him as a starter — or, alternatively, if he was merely benefiting from the sort of improvement one sees while working out of the bullpen. That, as I say, is something a person would wonder. It is not, however, my ambition to meditiate on that question at the moment. One reason is because Sullivan mostly did that. A second reason is because the answer (see: “we don’t know”) merits only so much attention. Instead, what I’d like to examine here — with the aid of, like, 10 or 50 animated GIFs — is what Davis’s likely ceiling is. What, in other words, does Wade Davis look like — and what, in particular, does his repertoire look like — when he is being the best possible Wade Davis. Fortunately for all of us, Wade Davis was pretty much that Wade Davis for an inning this past September 28th. In his second-to-last relief appearance of the season, Davis posted simultaneously the lowest single-game xFIP (-2.91, which he achieved one other time) and highest average fastball velocity (96.6 mph) of his 118 career appearances. Davis faced three White Soxes — Kevin Youkilis, Adam Dunn, and Paul Konerko — in the seventh inning of that game and struck them all out (hence, the perfect -2.91 xFIP). While certainly of some use, PITCHf/x is far from infallible so far as classifying Davis’s pitches is concerned. Probably to his benefit, Davis seems to resist classification, throwing his (technically) three-pitch repertoire with enough in the way of minor alterations that it also, likely, resists classification from opposing batters, as well. In this appearance alone, Davis throws what we might call five or six different pitches. Here are some of the notable ones, organized into two bsaic categories: Fastballs and than Less Fast Balls. Fastballs Davis threw variants of two main types of fastball against the White Sox: a four-seamer and a two-seamer, with five of the former hitting 97 mph. His typical four-seamer has less run than a major-league average one will, maybe just about four inches. Here, for example, is Davis throwing a pitch at both 97 mph and with four inches of run to strike out Paul Konerko. Here’s a called strike from earlier in that same plate appearance — in this case, a fastball with even less (i.e. just about 2 inches) of armside run: Now here’s the two-seamer, distinguishable for having more armside run and less of what we’d call “rise.” Of the two that he threw, this one had much more (a little over 9 inches) of lateral movement: Less Fast Balls Davis appears to throw a number of pitches on the curve-slider-cutter continuum — or, at least, he did do that against the White Sox. For example, here’s a pitch that was both classified as and more or less resembles a slider, thrown at 92 mph and with 1-2 inches of gloveside run: However, here’s a pitch thrown with a little less velocity (91 mph) and basically zero lateral movement, and which we’d likely call (despite having less velocity than the previous pitch) a cutter. PITCHf/x, likely confused, calls it a two-seamer. Kevin Youkilis, also confused, swings and misses for strike three. Here’s a third pitch, from earlier in the Youkilis at-bat, with almost identical velocity and movement: Davis also threw two types of curveball in his appearance. Consider, first, this first-pitch called strike to Youkilis at 80 mph, which we might say is of the “get me over” variety: But then keep considering this other curve, too, to Paul Konerko at 86 mph (i.e. kind of a lot faster) and thrown with the intention, it seems, of getting a swinging (and not called) strike:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NFL: Refs did not blow calls on Ravens' blocked FG return

Roethlisberger: I’ll play through any injury but a brain injury

LeBron James feels ‘kind of sad’ about Kobe Bryant retiring

Singer Marc Anthony creates agency, signs Aroldis Chapman

Jimbo Fisher: I’m not leaving Florida State

76ers raise ticket prices for Kobe's final appearance


Ricky Jean Francois says Redskins can ‘win it all’

Jerry Jones: Manziel could have been Romo’s successor

Broncos DB on Brock Osweiler: ‘None of this is a surprise to us’

Jarius Wright: ‘Everybody’s embracing their role’ on Vikings

Rob Gronkowski seems to agree he's been targeted on P.I. calls

Harbaugh on kick-six: ‘Never seen anything like it in my life’

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

QUIZ: Name every NCAA football national champion since 1950

Browns lose to Ravens as only the Browns know how

NCAA figures out how to invite 5-7 teams to bowls

Ranking top Heisman Trophy candidates

Have the New Orleans Saints given up?

This weekend in NFL stupid, ft. Rex Ryan

Missouri won’t accept a bowl bid at 5-7

Durant blasts media on behalf of Kobe

Josh McCown laments how he got job back from Manziel

Paul George: Kobe Bryant was my Michael Jordan

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker